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#3106207 04/14/21 03:29 PM
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Duaner Offline OP
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I wondering if there is an easy hitch pin fix that one can perform "on-site"? I did a, of course, clunker yesterday and it had many problems, loose pins, major "major" pitch raise all that but it also had several loose hitch pins. I could have walked away with a fairly good repair and tuning if it wasn't for those hitch pins being loose and making the kind of "rattle" sound they. I see that most customers don't understand even though it is explained with care.

So, I'm asking, what do you do about this type of problem and is there a decent and relatively fast repair without moving the piano to the shop...etc....?


Duane Graves


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It is not a problem that I have run into, but I would try removing the pin, inserting a shim made from beverage can aluminum, and then pounding it back in.


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I have never had a hitch pin "rattle" before. I have had one break on me before. I have a hard time understanding how it could rattle when under tension.


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Are you sure you are meaning hitch pin? The pin that the string attaches to opposite the tuning pin? If it is holding tension, it really can't rattle.

Center pins in the action maybe?


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The pins I'm talking about are just up from the "bottom" where there are two off-set pins that "zig-zag" that the string goes through (I call them hitch-pins maybe they go by another name but that is what was loose) and on second thought they did not "rattle" necessarily but more like "buzzed" horribly with that kind of sound. Hope this helps, sorry fellas.....there may have been some loose at the very bottom too....can't remember.

Is there an easy way to repair this on-site that you know of and I don't?


Duane Graves


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I think you mean bridge pins. They commonly become loose, often because of the bridge splitting, and cause problems such as false beats and buzzing strings.


Chris Leslie
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Yes, "BRIDGE PINS" ....thank you, Chris Leslie....


Duane Graves


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Duane,

If the bridge is cracked such that the pins have moved sideways enough to cause buzzing your most likely repair in the home would be epoxy. Must put it horizontal with your tilter, remove affected bass strings from hitch pins and bridge, make a tape dam at the end of the bridge, reposition pins as possible, apply epoxy in crack, let cure, reapply if necessary (after partial cure), reassemble and tune.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Duaner Offline OP
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Sorry for the confusion....but, anyway, this seems like it is not an easy fix but what else can you do but TRY to fix it. I mean under normal circumstances you wouldn't leave it with the loose "bridge" pins and that ugly buzzz....would you??? I'm asking.....


Duane Graves


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It is not a matter of trying and hoping for the best. What Peter is outlining above is a very legitimate repair. I have done it. Once the piano is on its back on the tilter and the affected strings have been unhitched and set to the side, the work proceeds in a very straightforward way. I used west system epoxy and had some acetone on hand to clean up any mess. I had previously reworked a number of bridges following the instructions in Spurlock’s article “Bridge Repairs for Better Tone. Reconstituting the bridge like you’re describing is actually much simpler than reworking the whole bridge system of the piano. I very much recommend reading Bill Spurlocks article which appeared in the piano technicians journal. Most of the steps you won’t have to worry about in this case, but the instructions on working with the epoxy are very helpful indeed.


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Don't end up doing lots of complex stuff for nothing, though. Don't let the customer's problem become your problem!

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Originally Posted by David Boyce
Don't end up doing lots of complex stuff for nothing, though. Don't let the customer's problem become your problem!

That happens to me a lot, David, because I want the piano to sound and play as good I can make it despite the customers willingness to pay for the "entire" job. I suppose it's a matter of pride but I think also there is a sense of adventure and progress in learning also especially if I'm doing a job that doesn't come along all the time like bridge pin repair...


Duane Graves


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You can do it! 😁

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About four years ago I received a request to try to resurrect a treasured family piano that another technician had given up on. When I first saw the piano, the bass strings had already been unhitched and set aside, a bunch of the bridge pins were sitting in a container, the bass bridge was badly cracked, and some preliminary attempts had been made to remove the bass bridge from the soundboard. The piano was a 1965 Heintzman console, a modest instrument at best, but otherwise in decent shape. A humidity event in the house had precipitated the damage -- something to do with the break down of a ventilation system serving an indoor pool. My assessment was that if I could stabilize the pins at their original locations in the existing bridge structure, and restore integrity to the bridge cap with epoxy, the proper termination of the speaking lengths of the strings at the upper pins was achievable. The project was a success. The process was almost exactly what Peter outlines above. I now tune that piano twice a year, and it is behaving well.

Last edited by Floyd G; 04/15/21 10:33 AM.

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Originally Posted by Duaner
Originally Posted by David Boyce
Don't end up doing lots of complex stuff for nothing, though. Don't let the customer's problem become your problem!

That happens to me a lot, David, because I want the piano to sound and play as good I can make it despite the customers willingness to pay for the "entire" job. I suppose it's a matter of pride but I think also there is a sense of adventure and progress in learning also especially if I'm doing a job that doesn't come along all the time like bridge pin repair...


Been there, done that, got the teeshirt!

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Originally Posted by David Boyce
Don't end up doing lots of complex stuff for nothing, though. Don't let the customer's problem become your problem!
Am I alone in thinking that It's actually outrageous that a "client" should pay anything to someone to work on their piano when that someone doesn't know the difference between a hitch pin and a bridge pin? Shouldn't the person learning how to approach repairing the piano be paying the owner for the privilege of practicing on their instrument? Shouldn't someone who you are paying to work on your piano have taken the trouble to learn about pianos before being let loose on paying clients? Surely a client has a legitimate expectation that the visiting professional knows what they are doing?
I'm trying very hard not to be rude here, nothing personal regarding the OP but really.... it's not great is it?
Nick


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Duaner Offline OP
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Originally Posted by N W
Originally Posted by David Boyce
Don't end up doing lots of complex stuff for nothing, though. Don't let the customer's problem become your problem!
Am I alone in thinking that It's actually outrageous that a "client" should pay anything to someone to work on their piano when that someone doesn't know the difference between a hitch pin and a bridge pin? Shouldn't the person learning how to approach repairing the piano be paying the owner for the privilege of practicing on their instrument? Shouldn't someone who you are paying to work on your piano have taken the trouble to learn about pianos before being let loose on paying clients? Surely a client has a legitimate expectation that the visiting professional knows what they are doing?
I'm trying very hard not to be rude here, nothing personal regarding the OP but really.... it's not great is it?
Nick

I deserved that, Nick....thank you, it keeps me humble....just trying to get ideas from those who have more experience than I do and you know what it worked yet once again....I hope you are doing very well....take care!


Duane Graves


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Nick,

I share only partial agreement on the matter. However, the client does not have the required equipment to horizontalize the piano, nor does tge client have the tools and equipment and knowledge to dismantle what needs it, remove and install strings needed, etc.

There is a first time for everyone and everything. True, it does not require an education in rocket science to put epoxy in the bridge, but to get it to the crunch point does require everything Duane possesses already. After this one he won't need any advice in this realm of repair because he will repeat his success and not repeat his mistakes.

Chances are that if I were doing the job I would charge more than he us likely to charge for this one. As he gains experience his confidence in his ability to deal with situations like this will improve as he will confidently point to other repairs he has performed.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by N W
Am I alone in thinking that It's actually outrageous that a "client" should pay anything to someone to work on their piano when that someone doesn't know the difference between a hitch pin and a bridge pin?

I don't think that Duane doesn't know the difference between bridge pins and hitch pins. I just think that he used the wrong terminology. The two are not the same IMHO.

Last edited by DanS; 04/16/21 07:46 AM.
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Originally Posted by DanS
Originally Posted by N W
Am I alone in thinking that It's actually outrageous that a "client" should pay anything to someone to work on their piano when that someone doesn't know the difference between a hitch pin and a bridge pin?

I don't think that Duane doesn't know the difference between bridge pins and hitch pins. I just think that he used the wrong terminology. The two are not the same IMHO.
My point is though, here's how the op described them:
"The pins I'm talking about are just up from the "bottom" where there are two off-set pins that "zig-zag" that the string goes through (I call them hitch-pins maybe they go by another name but that is what was loose) and on second thought they did not "rattle" necessarily but more like "buzzed" horribly"
Would you expect to pay someone with this level of expertise to look after your piano? Really?
I could come and service your car for you if you like, or your boiler, central heating...you name it I'll have a go....
Nick


Nick, ageing piano technician
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